Who is Italy’s new ‘fascist’ leader Giorgia Meloni and what does she say about LGBTQ+ rights?

A graphic of Giorgia Meloni standing in between two flags representing Italy and the LGBTQ+ community

Giorgia Meloni, who is set to become the first far-right prime minister in post-World War II Italy, has a long history of opposing the broadening of LGBTQ+ rights in the European country.

Projected results from Italy’s general election indicated that a right-wing coalition, led by Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) party, won a majority of the vote on Sunday (25 September). 

The alliance made up of the Brothers of Italy party as well as Matteo Salvini’s right-wing Lega (League) and Silvio Berlusconi’s leaning Forza Italia (Forward Italy) means more far-right, conservative legislators will dominate in parliament.

The success means that Meloni is likely to become Italy’s next prime minister and the country’s first-ever female leader. Meloni promised the party would “govern for everyone” as the results emerged and spoke about the need to unite Italy. 

However, several LGBTQ+ organisations and advocates have warned Meloni’s leadership will herald bad tidings for Italy as she has openly expressed hostility towards immigrants, LGBTQ+ folk and people seeking access to safe abortions. 

LGBTQ+ organisation Circolo Mario Mieli said vote results were “bad news” as the country was “handed over to an extreme right” political alliance directly opposed to the queer community. 

“A political force that on the skin of the LGBTQIA + community has done nothing but grim propaganda,” the group wrote. “Today is the time to start again, to resist and to fight.”

Giorgia Meloni’s party has fought against legislation that classify violence against LGBTQ+ people as a hate crime

Brothers of Italy – which Meloni has led since 2014 – banded together with the League party to block ratification of a bill that would have made violence against LGBTQ+ people and disabled folks, as well as misogyny, a hate crime. 

The bill, which was named after gay politician Alessandro Zan, was killed in 2021 after backlash from far-right groups and an “unprecedented” intervention by the Vatican.

booklet on the Brothers of Italy’s website explained the party opposed the bill because it promoted “gender ideology” – a term used by far-right groups and anti-trans voices to advocate against the LGBTQ+ community – and threatened ‘freedom of thought’.

Giorgia Meloni wears a dark outfit as she speaks into a microphone and gestures with her hand

Giorgia Meloni’s party Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) opposed legislation that would classify violence against LGBTQ+ as a hate crime because. (Getty)

Meloni told reporters in 2020 that she didn’t believe it was the “Italian reality” that LGBTQ+ people are discriminated against or that there had been an escalation in hate crimes against queer people in the country.

During the election campaign, Meloni denied the suggestion that a government led by her party would endanger queer rights while yet she has continued to use anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric to bolster her political campaign. 

In June, Giorgia Meloni went to Spain to support the country’s far-right Vox party during a regional election. In her speech, Meloni said: “Yes to the natural family, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology!”

Italy, which is the home of the Catholic Church in Rome, is an outlier in western Europe on LGBTQ+ rights. The country approved same-sex civil unions in 2016 but has lagged in bringing forward marriage equality. 

Additionally, same-sex couples hoping for children through adoption or surrogacy, have to travel abroad to be recognised as parents. 

Giorgia Meloni has built her political platform on opposition to adoptions and surrogacy for queer couples 

She reiterated her stance against queer couples expanding their families in March 2022. Meloni stressed she isn’t homophobic but firmly believed the “state must try to reserve adoption for a man and a woman” to “take care of the weakest”. 

Giorgia Meloni wears a blue outfit as she stares at something off camera

Giorgia Meloni has repeatedly said that she doesn’t think LGBTQ+ couples should be able to adopt because it’s not “what’s best” for children. (Getty)

Giorgia Meloni told the Washington Post in September that she thinks adoption by a heteronormative couple is “what’s best” for a “child who’s unlucky”. 

She submitted an amendment to a law that would extend a ban on surrogacy in the country to Italians who seek the method abroad while a member of parliament, the New York Times reported. The measure has not yet been approved. 

Her party also does not support bringing forward legislation that would enshrine same-sex marriage in Italy’s civil code, according to Italian LGBTQ+ group Gay Center.

The right-wing leader and her party oppose broadening rights for trans, non-binary and intersex folk in Italy

In June, Meloni criticised the ongoing discourse surrounding gender inclusivity. She claimed the “true goal” of so-called “gender ideology” is the “disappearance of the woman” and “end of motherhood” – typical dog whistles used by anti-trans voices to disparage the community. 

Meloni’s Brothers of Italy as well as its allied groups, Forward Italy and League, have opposed legislation guaranteeing the recognition of trans identities, Gay Center noted. 

Trans people in Italy must go before a court if they wish to legally change their gender and name on official identification documents. Under law 164/82, trans people must undergo a multi-step process that requires judicial authorization and must undergo gender-affirming surgery when “necessary”.  


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Additionally, Meloni’s coalition of right-wing groups did not support the protection and recognition of rights for intersex people. Brothers of Italy, Forward Italy and League did not support a ban on surgeries on intersex children.